Daily Archives: May 2, 2013

Philadelphia Weekly Q&A With the Very Rev. Gary Hall, Dean of the National Cathedral

You recently decided to take the issue of gay marriage on, head-on, at the National Cathedral. What led you to that decision?

There’s my own track record on the issue and then there’s the cathedral’s process. I’ve been a proponent of same-sex marriage at least 20 years. I worked in the ’90s on this stuff at All-Saints Church in Pasadena, California, a progressive church in that part of Los Angeles. Los Angeles has a very large gay and lesbian population, it had an AIDS service center. I got to know a lot of gay and lesbian people well, personally, which I hadn’t before. And during my time there, that parish decided to do same-sex blessings. We aren’t talking about marriage yet. So, I’ve been involved in same-sex blessing and a couple of same sex marriages, really, over the last 20 years. But I had a book of essays about it.

On the public side, it’s that in 2012, thanks to all this activity that I and others did, the Episcopal Church authorized a liturgy, a ritual for same-sex blessings. And in the areas where marriage was legal, nine states plus the District, it could be locally adapted for marriage. The cathedral is an Episcopal cathedral, it’s part of the Episcopal diocese of Washington. So same-sex marriage has been legal in Washington for a while. Maryland just passed a referendum in November saying same-sex marriage is legal now. So all parts of our diocese were where same-sex marriage was legal.

The bishop and I met and said we’re going to start allowing same-sex marriage everywhere, in that diocese in January, and the cathedral would also do it. It was part of a long process in the Episcopal Church. We’ve had controversies over openly gay bishops and all that kind of stuff. We worked through those. Our denomination has come to a place that’s made it possible. And at our general convention in 2015, we’ll probably take up the marriage question.

Read it all (my emphasis).

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NPR) How One College Is Closing The Computer Science Gender Gap

There are still relatively few women in tech. Maria Klawe wants to change that. As president of Harvey Mudd College, a science and engineering school in Southern California, she’s had stunning success getting more women involved in computing.

Klawe isn’t concerned about filling quotas or being nice to women. Rather, she’s deeply troubled that half the population is grossly underrepresented in this all-important field. Women aren’t setting the agenda and designing products and services that are shaping our lives. They’re getting only about 18 percent of the bachelor’s degrees in computer science, and in the workplace their numbers aren’t much higher.

Seated in her modest office on the Claremont, Calif., campus, Klawe, 61, reflects on the stereotype of computer scientists as anti-social nerds, saying it’s out of date. But she is quick to add that women often face barriers spoken and unspoken that discourage them from entering the field.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Science & Technology, Women, Young Adults

(50 Years Ago Today) PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Birmingham and the Children’s March

[KIM] LAWTON: On Thursday May 2nd, “The Children’s March” began. Students left their classrooms mid-day and gathered in Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. They came out marching and singing, row after row after row of them, some as young as six years old. Waiting police arrested them for parading without a permit, but the kids kept coming, and when the paddy wagons were full, the police had to get a school bus to take them all away. Nearly a thousand children had signed up to march, and more than 600 were taken into custody on that day.

LAWTON: As hundreds and hundreds more children showed up to demonstrate and face possible arrest, Bull Connor was anxious to restore order. He instructed his forces to bring out the fire hoses and the dogs.

Some of the most shocking confrontations happened in Kelly Ingram Park, across from the church, where monuments to the marchers now stand. Officials aimed the water hoses full blast at the marching children. McKinstry was among those hit.

[CAROLYN] MCKINSTRY: The water came out with such tremendous pressure and, uh, it’s a very painful experience, if you’ve never been hit by a fire hose and I thought, whoa.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(AFP) US report warns of crisis for Pakistan religious minorities

A US government-appointed panel urged Washington Tuesday to step up pressure on Pakistan over religious freedom, warning that risks to its minorities have reached a crisis level.

In an annual report, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom also raised concerns about what it called a worsening situation in China, as well as problems in Egypt, Iran, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia and other nations.

The commission, which advises the government but does not make decisions, called for the United States to designate Pakistan, among eight other countries, as a “country of particular concern,” meaning it could be subject to sanctions if it fails to improve.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Bishop Martin Wallace of Selby to retire

The Anglican Bishop of Selby is to retire in November after 10 years in the post.

The Right Reverend Martin Wallace, 64, said it had been an “enormous privilege” to serve people in the area.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(The Tennessean) Nashville couple revive the lost art of hymn writing

Most songwriters in Nashville want to get their songs on the radio.

Keith and Kristyn Getty hope their songs end up in dusty old hymn books.

The Gettys, originally from Belfast, Ireland, hope to revive the art of hymn writing at a time when the most popular new church songs are written for rock bands rather than choirs.

They’ve had surprising success.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Religion & Culture

(Reuters) Oldest known concentration camp survivor dies at age 107

Leopold Engleitner, the oldest known survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, has died at the age of 107, his biographer said.

Engleitner, a conscientious objector whose life was documented in the book and film “Unbroken Will”, was imprisoned in the Buchenwald, Niederhagen and Ravensbrueck camps between 1939 and 1943.

He refused to renounce his Jehovah’s Witness faith to win his freedom but was eventually released, weighing just 28 kilograms (62 pounds), on condition that he agree to spend the rest of his life working as a slave agricultural labourer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Austria, Europe, Germany, History, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(IBD) Federal Reserve Fed Could Boost Bond Buys As Economic Growth Sputters

The economy lurched this spring into an even lower gear, from manufacturing to services to construction, leaving the Federal Reserve poised to prolong or expand its bond-buying stimulus.

Central bankers Wednesday kept benchmark rates near zero and quantitative easing purchases at $85 billion a month. But changes in their statement highlighted shifting emphasis.

“The Committee is prepared to increase or reduce the pace of its purchases to maintain appropriate policy accommodation as the outlook for the labor market or inflation changes,” it said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The U.S. Government

A Mass. Principal fires security guards to hire art teachers–and transforms anelementary school

The community of Roxbury had high hopes for its newest public school back in 2003. There were art studios, a dance room, even a theater equipped with cushy seating.

A pilot school for grades K-8, Orchard Gardens was built on grand expectations.

But the dream of a school founded in the arts, a school that would give back to the community as it bettered its children, never materialized.

Read it all (Video highly recommended).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Art, Children, Education, Music, Urban/City Life and Issues

Reminder–Today is the National Day of Prayer

You can find more information about it here.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

Athanasius on the Incarnation for his Feast Day

For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God comes to our realm, howbeit he was not far from us Acts 17:27 before. For no part of Creation is left void of Him: He has filled all things everywhere, remaining present with His own Father. But He comes in condescension to show loving-kindness upon us, and to visit us. And seeing the race of rational creatures in the way to perish, and death reigning over them by corruption; seeing, too, that the threat against transgression gave a firm hold to the corruption which was upon us, and that it was monstrous that before the law was fulfilled it should fall through: seeing, once more, the unseemliness of what was come to pass: that the things whereof He Himself was Artificer were passing away: seeing, further, the exceeding wickedness of men, and how by little and little they had increased it to an intolerable pitch against themselves: and seeing, lastly, how all men were under penalty of death: He took pity on our race, and had mercy on our infirmity, and condescended to our corruption, and, unable to bear that death should have the mastery””lest the creature should perish, and His Father’s handiwork in men be spent for nought””He takes unto Himself a body, and that of no different sort from ours. For He did not simply will to become embodied, or will merely to appear. For if He willed merely to appear, He was able to effect His divine appearance by some other and higher means as well. But He takes a body of our kind, and not merely so, but from a spotless and stainless virgin, knowing not a man, a body clean and in very truth pure from intercourse of men. For being Himself mighty, and Artificer of everything, He prepares the body in the Virgin as a temple unto Himself, and makes it His very own as an instrument, in it manifested, and in it dwelling. And thus taking from our bodies one of like nature, because all were under penalty of the corruption of death He gave it over to death in the stead of all, and offered it to the Father””doing this, moreover, of His loving-kindness, to the end that, firstly, all being held to have died in Him, the law involving the ruin of men might be undone (inasmuch as its power was fully spent in the Lord’s body, and had no longer holding-ground against men, his peers), and that, secondly, whereas men had turned toward corruption, He might turn them again toward incorruption, and quicken them from death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of the Resurrection, banishing death from them like straw from the fire.

–Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church History, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Athanasius

Uphold thy Church, O God of truth, as thou didst uphold thy servant Athanasius, to maintain and proclaim boldly the catholic faith against all opposition, trusting solely in the grace of thine eternal Word, who took upon himself our humanity that we might share his divinity; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

We offer to thee, O Lord our God, the work which thou hast appointed for us this day. Help us to do it heartily and faithfully, as in thy sight and for thy glory, that so we may be drawn nearer to thee and confirmed in thy service, which alone is true freedom; in the name of our Master and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

–William Bright

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

–Romans 14:7-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Diocese of Botswana elects new bishop

Provincial Secretary and Bishop of Eastern Zambia, the Rt Revd William Mchombo made the announcement after the Elective Assembly meeting held at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Botswana capital Gaborone on Saturday.

“I am pleased to let you know that Fr Metlhayotlhe Rawlings Belemi is the bishop-elect of the Diocese of Botswana,” said Bishop Mchombo. “The whole programme began with a solemn mass which was presided over by Archbishop of Central Africa Albert Chama.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Provinces, Church of Central Africa

Italian Islamist Cell "Planned Attacks in Israel, US, Italy"

Italian police arrested four men on Tuesday, who are suspected of planning terrorist attacks in Italy, the US and Israel, reports Reuters News. One of the arrested men is believed to be a Tunisian former imam at a mosque in the city of Andria, in the southern Italian region of Puglia, where police said the terror cell was based. According to paramilitary police, the men aimed to train terrorists and send them to fight abroad, and are suspected of conspiracy to commit international terrorism and incite racial hatred.

According to investigators, the four men focused their recruitment activities among illegal immigrants, who were subsequently sent to training camps in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Chechnya. Police described the group as being characterized by “fierce anti-Semitism and anti-Western sentiment” and an aversion to states viewed as enemies in the context of religious war.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Islam, Italy, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

(Zenit) Peter Waymel–Bioethics and End-of-Life Issues

In the context of a widespread prevailing medical and social praxis that endanger that value of life perennially defended by the Catholic Church, it can be useful to offer some reflections on end-of-life issues, specifically on the difference between refusing extraordinary measures and suicide (both doctor-assisted and ”˜autonomous’).

A convention held recently at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome on bioethics and end-of-life issues highlighted a number of fields where the Catholic perspective is in sharp conflict with either current medical practice, and trends threatening to go beyond de facto practice silently occurring between doctor, patient, and relatives in hospitals across the world, to become legislated practices, endorsed by law. One such field merits perhaps special attention, due to the likelihood that a given individual is to come across such a situation in the course of his or her life: the moral question regarding the refusal of possibly life-extending treatment, and the ensuing questions of whether this constitutes suicide, or differs moreover from the refusal of food and water.

In the issue of end-of-life practices, Fr. Maurizio Faggioni, O.F.M., professor of moral theology and bioethics at the Pontifical University “Antonianum” in Rome, affirmed that currently there is a distinction that needs to be made between assisted suicide and a refusing life-extending therapeutic measures.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Indpndnt) Jonathan Brown–Isolated: single Christians feel unsupported by family-focused churches

Single Christians feel “isolated, alone and lonely” within their churches, according to new research. More than a third of worshippers who were not married or in a relationship said they did not feel treated the same as those that were part of conventional families.

Nearly four out of ten single churchgoers said they often felt “inadequate or ignored” whilst 42.8 per cent said their church did not know what to do with them. A total of 37 per cent said they “did not feel treated as family members”

The findings were based on the responses of 2,754 people who used the Christian dating site Christian Connection and suggest there is a significant minority of worshippers who feel alienated by the prevailing attitudes within protestant denominations in Britain including the Church of England.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Young Adults